Bathrooms are becoming more relaxed, casual spaces, and with that trend, bathroom vanities have become a little less formal, too. Open shelf bathroom vanities are an especially popular option, as they offer both a breezy, spa like appearance and more efficient storage. If you’re looking to create a luxurious contemporary bathroom with just a hint of a high-end hotel style, open shelf bathroom vanities are a great place to start for a number of reasons.
Open shelf bathroom vanities are more or less what they sound like: vanities that eschew the traditional cabinet design in favor of smaller drawers or cabinets along the upper edge of the vanity, with an open shelf on the bottom. The base is often slatted but sometimes enclosed, and offers a great deal more white space than a conventional vanity. You can find single vanities in this style like the one above, but more open shelf bathroom vanities are large double vanities, either with two sinks or a single trough style sink.
This open approach to storage is actually a trend I’m starting to see in all different kinds of furniture, from bookshelves to kitchen islands and pretty much everything in between. I suspect this is in no small part because home design in general has become a lot more relaxed and casual in the last decade. Having many separate rooms and private spaces has lost popularity in favor of large, open communal spaces. By extension having everything stowed away and hidden has become less important.
Instead, you find lots of open shelf storage and traditional shelves divided up into cubes or smaller open-faced shelves. These simple square and rectangular designs offer a more modern feel that can make your space look and feel a little bigger. Wide open shelves have an especially airy feel, while bathroom vanities with many open shelves in the same repeating size and shape have the same slightly artsy feel as a cube bookshelf.
Both types of open shelf vanities pair amazingly well with decorative baskets and wicker or canvas storage cubes. Again, these have a more casual, almost beachy feel to them, as you can casually toss spare towels, TP, or even hair care products or makeup into pretty baskets and leave them out in the open. This has the dual effect of looking effortless and relaxed and actually keeping your personal items a little better sorted than a traditional cabinet, as you can group certain kinds of items (or each person’s items) in a different basket.
I also consider open shelf bathroom vanities to be a little more efficient purely by virtue of the fact that all the closed storage is at roughly waist height. Depending on the vanity, this is usually a mix of drawers and cabinets, but rather than the very large cabinets typically associated with large vanities, these are about half the size. That means that anything you put in the cabinet beneath the sink can be reached while you’re standing in front of it, no bending needed. Practically what that means is that personal items are more accessible, while less often used items, or general bathroom items like TP and towels, can be tucked in baskets below and used like functional decorations.
Open shelf bathroom vanities have become especially popular lately with the rise in spa style bathrooms. These are very much the kind of vanities you’ll find in a luxury hotel (not least because the open design makes it easier to find things), and many homeowners have started adopting this open, accessible, breezy style in their own bathrooms. Paired with warm neutral tiles, plush white towels, and lots of wood accents, open shelf bathroom vanities are the perfect way to begin recreating that steamy, relaxed, sunny setting you would find in a high end spa.
What do you think of these open shelf bathroom vanities? Do you like the breezy, open look, or do you think you’d miss the private storage? Let me know in the comments!